If ever there was a more salient moment for a band like Dojo even just to merely exist, then surely that time is now.
While we are led a merry dance by politicians who haven’t even dipped their toes in the real world for decades, and swept away by tsunamis created out of the ignorance of fools who think the floods will cleanse our oceans without realising their own children are drowning from the consequences, Dojo quietly embrace each other’s cultures on their small, idyllic island where everybody is welcome and all things are equal to whomever wishes to swim ashore.
Comprising members from as far afield as Nigeria and Lebanon, as well as musicians from London and Paris, this is a collective with love in their hearts and they make the kind of music that would make an angry, hungry lion stop, release its prey and consider opening a vegan restaurant. Do you suffer from stress? Panic attacks? Well, I suggest you ditch the doctor’s appointment and put Gaia on instead. Forget the “apple a day” nonsense; an hour of bliss means your soul’s getting kissed. Really those last nine words would suffice for the entire review here, but we have guidelines here, and I have another couple of hundred words to go until I meet the required quota. Such is life.
When it begins, with ‘Bethel‘, we are lead, briefly to believe that Dojo’s roots are based on nights spent listening to The Police, its “dio-o-o” vocal cunningly misguiding us as such, but then the quite exquisite vocals of Mileva Corenthin kick in and we are dancing to a summertime reggae beat that briefly carries us off with them into that carefree world they so joyfully inhabit. It’s telling too that the backgrounds of each member differ significantly, with faiths as manifold as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and, yes, Atheist all being very much at the core of their very being. Proof, if it were needed, that such rich diversity works, if only it is given time to do so.
You could never really palm Gaia off as merely a straight ‘roots reggae’ album (though clearly it is the major blueprint), as we are hit with some striking world rhythms (see ‘Pali Metta‘), while chillout excursions like ‘Erida‘ wouldn’t be out of place on a Nightmares On Wax album.
This is a spiritual journey through life, happening upon socio-political themes along the way, but unlike what seems like the vast majority of the world in these troubling times, Dojo are not in the habit of looking for a scapegoat. No, to borrow the words of LBC’s James O’Brien, they will “cry liberal tears” for anyone who meets with such hardship, even if they themselves were the catalyst. And really, that is quite beautiful.
Gaia is released on 7th April through One Records.